Friday, November 30, 2007


Here's the footage of the brawling eight-year-olds, in case anyone hasn't seen it or just needs a handy place to find it.

Don't get too bent out of shape it over this. After all, hockey ran out of black eyes in about 1903. It would be nice if Hockey Night in Canada, which uses youngsters to introduce its broadcasts and then hypes fighting, would, along with other media outlets, issue a mea culpa for instilling violent impulses in people. It's called having a goddamn social conscience.

Recommended reading: Good friend Trevor Stewart of the Sudbury Star has a great blog post up about how you would never see this in one of the kiddie basketball leagues. Hoops is a whole lot less expensive.

Come to think of it, you don't see the OPP doing a walk-through at a children's dance class, baseball game, lacrosse game, football game, swim meet, or soccer game.


Dennis Prouse said...

Don't be so sure about lacrosse. I have seen, and heard of, some equally nasty stuff there. It just doesn't get the play hockey does.

Anonymous said...

Is it sad seeing 8-year-olds behaving like that? Yes. Is it pathetic having parents go over the top like that? Sure. Is this worth freaking out about? No.

I was underwhelmed by the video. I played 9 years at the lowest level possible - house league - and I saw an incident like that at least once a year. The only difference was in those days, no one had a video phone in their jacket pocket that didn't answer to the name Maxwell Smart. That doesn't make what happened here right - not at all.
But follow me on this next point: What bugs me about it is that we have tiered hockey so that kids as young as seven can play in AAA hockey. If you're not sure exactly what that means, I'll tell you. It means some (not all, but some) kids at that level are driving over an hour to get to a practice at their HOME rink. Doing the math, that's 2 hours in a car, probably five times a week. I can think of a lot better ways for 8 & 9 year olds to spend their time than that. That kind of familal commitment is nuts. So, when you get parents willing to make that commitment, there has to be, at some level, increased pressure on the boy. So, you take that kind of parent (I don't mean to paint them all with the same brush, but all it takes is one), teams whose focus is winning, a competitive atmosphere (nothing wrong with that, but anytime someone's kids are competing, the parents get a little wound - regardless if it's hockey, soccer, public speaking or a Kiwanis music festival), and yes, media outlets that don't shy away from using fights to promote upcoming broadcasts, stuff like this will happen (sorry for the length of that sentence). Sad. Unfortunate. Predictable.

As for lacrosse, I've coached for a couple of years, and it's fine. I've played hockey, lacrosse, football, rugby, baseball; coached baseball, hockey and lacrosse. I've never seen a sport that puts as much empahsis on safety and respect for the opponent as lacrosse. Do you get the odd blowup? Yep. All it takes is one hothead, but they get reeled in quickly.

sager said...

Two hours in the car, and the boy plays 10-15 minutes in the actual game... meantime, you could have played in a neighbourhood arena... heck, skated on a pond, and saved a lot of time.

Speaking from personal experience, I too played in house leagues... but I never remember a bench-clearing fight. There were fights, but it never spilled over like that, and certainly not until bantam, midget.

Dennis Prouse said...

Like most "fights' at that age group, though, this one was over pretty quickly. And, as in most fights, there was one kid who was clearly the most enthusiastic about the proceedings. #9 in white needs a nice, long timeout.

My son plays lacrosse, so by no means did I intend to throw that great sport under the bus. What I am saying is that I have seen similar dustups at lacrosse in the 9-10 year old age group, again complete with screaming, whacked out parents. Believe it or not, a lot of these people are level headed individuals away from the rink. Once you get people into a competitive situation involving their kid, though, as indicated above, common sense quickly gives way to base emotion.

Neate, you have hit the nail on the head regarding these "travelling teams. For the love of Mike, WHY? Some of these teams have $25,000 budgets, most of it for travel to out of town tournaments. I look at Ottawa, and I see a community of well over 700,000 just on this side of the river alone. And you are telling me that 11 year olds living here need to travel like that? Please. Heck, my son plays house league (rep hockey coaches are unimpressed by the fact that he has the temerity to play football as well) and even in House, we are pressured to do the out of town tournament thing. I am always the stick in the mud that says we should be staying local.

The irony is that within a few years, most of the kids playing "rep" at Atom and Pee Wee will be out of hockey. The Bantam and Midget rep teams, OTOH, are often comprised of kids who never played rep at the younger ages. Sounds strange, but it's true.